Harvard went 1-1 at the Ivy Championship Tournament, good for bronze. (Zack Williamson)
PRINCETON, N.J. – Harvard women's water polo competed in the first ever Ivy Championship Tournament Sunday morning, playing in two games and eventually leaving Princeton, New Jersey with a third place finish.
In the first game of the day, the Crimson (5-4) took on Brown (3-3) with a spot in the final on the line. The two teams fought tooth-and-nail in a defensive struggle with Harvard falling to the Bears, 6-5. The first quarter saw both squads feel each other out ending with the Bears ahead 2-1, with Michelle Martinelli scoring the Crimson's goal. Heading in to the half, Harvard was able to find the back of the net one more time, thanks to Rachel Lobato, but Brown scored three more to push its lead to 5-2.
The Crimson defense stepped up in the third quarter, shutting out the Bears for the first time in the game. Freshman Haley Bowe scored Harvard's lone goal in the period, cutting Brown's lead to 5-3.
In the final frame, the Crimson's Charlotte Hendrix and Martinelli found the back of the net to tie the game at 5-5. With less than a minute left, the Bears took advantage of a six-on-five opportunity, downing the Crimson 6-5.
Hendrix and Martinelli lead the Harvard offense with two goals apiece. In a defensive struggle, senior captain Victoria Frager made a team-high five steals while freshman keeper Cleo Harrington made 11 saves.
Harvard returned to the pool to take on the top Ivy club team Dartmouth, with third place on the line. The Crimson dominated the matchup, leading wire-to-wire and winning out, 14-0. The first quarter saw the Crimson score a blazing seven goals. Six different Crimson players found the back of the net in the first, led by Balding's two goals. Defense was the focus for both teams in the second quarter as the Crimson's Bowe scored the only goal, giving Harvard an 8-0 lead at halftime.
The third period saw Harvard push its lead to 11-0, behind two goals from Lobato and Kalina Grabb's second score of the day. The Crimson's Hendrix found the back of the net twice in the final period with Sami Strutner securing the 14-0 win with her sole goal of the game.
Labato paced the Crimson offense with four goals, while Strunter tallied a team-high five assists in the game. Harrington turned away seven shots against Dartmouth, securing the Crimson's first shutout of the season and the first of her young career.
The Crimson is back in action next week with a three-game road test at Bucknell. Harvard opens the road trip, Saturday, Feb. 28 at 11:45 a.m. against Mercyhurst. The Crimson returns to the pool Sunday, March 1, to take on hosts Bucknell at 9 a.m. and Hartwick at 2:15 p.m.